Me, personally? The pandemic has me grilling whenever I get the chance. Chicken, mahi mahi, steak, burgers, salmon, shrimp - all this time doing next to nothing sure works up an appetite. 

But hot dogs? I don’t exactly remember reaching for a pack of those at the grocery store. I may not be alone, either. Social media data for top hot dog brands doesn't paint a terribly optimistic picture in 2020. 

Social media attention is dipping for some of the US’ leading beef frankfurter brands. Or, put another way, hot dogs just aren’t so hot anymore. It could be the abundance of time to whip up more intricate recipes; it could be the abundance of pea-protein burgers and sausages in the meat aisle - but the tube steak is getting tuned out by Americans, at least on social media. 

Based on our first chart, above, it looks as if Americans’ (really, all Facebook users’) attention directed toward the Nathan’s Famous ($NATH) hot dog brand - of New York City’s Coney Island, of the world-famous hot-dog eating competition - is getting a lot less attention year-over-year on the social network. What's worse, the pandemic couldn't put off Nathan's annual tradition, its world-famous hot dog eating competition, and it garnered next to no attention at what is considered the Thanksgiving of hot-dog-eating-days. For posterity, with 75 dogs, Joey Chestnut once again captured the world title. 

What's worse: the stock is down nearly 50% over a two-year period, from Nathan's peak, and shares are off 24% in 2020, far worse than broader market benchmarks are performing. 

Sure, Oscar Meyer (whose brand includes not just the hot dogs known for their commercial jingle, but also lunch meats and other food) has a greater following than Beyond Meat, for example. But what it doesn’t have is a growing audience -

But what it doesn’t have is a growing audience - since hitting a 2017 peak, the number of likes, Oscar Meyer's brand has seen more than 3% of Facebook users actively disengage with its brand, a potentially troubling sign. 

Shares of Oscar Meyer's parent company, Kraft Heinz ($KHC), are just above breakeven for 2020.

And just think - this is the declining social media data for just two of the top-rated hot dogs in the US. If Nathan's Famous and Oscar Meyer can't catch a break - who can? 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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